Cabrera looking at departure 'in a positive way'

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

December 16, 2008|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,dan.connolly@baltsun.com

After 10 years in the organization and five erratic seasons with the major league club, right-hander Daniel Cabrera wasn't sure what to think when he officially learned Saturday morning that he was no longer an Oriole.

There was a little sadness but no bitterness, Cabrera said yesterday by phone from the Dominican Republic.

"I don't know how I am going to feel; I'll have to wait for the season," said Cabrera, whom the Orioles did not offer a contract at Friday's midnight deadline. "I don't know how to feel, but I have nothing bad to say about Baltimore."

Cabrera signed as a 17-year-old in 1999 and made his big league debut in 2004, winning 12 games and finishing third in the Rookie of the Year balloting.

Hindered by an inability to consistently throw strikes, however, Cabrera never took the next step. Arbitration-eligible this winter, the 27-year-old would have made between $3 million and $4 million in 2009, so the team cut him loose.

"I think I'm looking [at this] in a positive way. I've been there five years. They have been waiting; they gave me a lot of chances," Cabrera said. "So I think it is good for the Orioles and good for me, too."

Cabrera's agent, Mike Powers, said he has had been contacted by 11 clubs since Saturday with varying levels of interest in the 6-foot-9 righty. He said he has a couple of offers, including one multiyear deal.

The interest was nearly evenly split between American League and National League clubs, Powers said, meaning that Cabrera's hitting woes - he's 0-for-14 with 14 strikeouts in his career - would not be a detriment in enticing NL suitors.

Powers declined to reveal interested parties, but the Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals and Toronto Blue Jays have shown interest in the past.

Vero Beach out for now

The Indian River County Board of Commissioners is expected to vote this morning to terminate a negotiating agreement and rescind an offer that could have made the vacant Dodgertown facility in Vero Beach, Fla., the Orioles' new spring training complex.

Commissioner Peter O'Bryan said the county thought it was close to an agreement a few weeks ago, but the club made an unacceptable proposal Friday.

"I'd say it was an extreme counteroffer," said O'Bryan, whose county had given the Orioles a negotiating deadline of 5 p.m. yesterday. "We'd be looking at weeks or maybe months more of negotiating. And nobody found that palatable."

Adhering to a confidentiality agreement, O'Bryan would not reveal specifics of the Orioles' proposal, but Vero Beach Mayor Tom White said: "There was a bunch of [issues] on there. Some of them opened my mouth, and I went, 'Huh? They want what?' "

O'Bryan wouldn't dismiss the possibility of future negotiations with the Orioles but said the county will pursue other options, including landing another big league club.

"It would behoove us to take a three- to four-week cooling-off period where we don't talk to the Orioles," he said. "To make sure another interested party can come in."

With Vero Beach on hold, Sarasota, Fla., has emerged as the odds-on favorite if the Orioles leave Fort Lauderdale, Fla., their spring home since 1996.

Sarasota, which hosts the Cincinnati Reds for one more year, is currently home to the Orioles' minor league complex.

The Sarasota County Commission could vote tomorrow on a tourism tax increase that would help build a new stadium for the Orioles, who will play in Fort Lauderdale this spring.

Through a spokesman, the Orioles declined comment.

Izturis in town

Shortstop Cesar Izturis, who agreed in principle to a two-year deal with the Orioles last week, arrived in Baltimore yesterday and passed his physical. An official announcement of his signing is expected today.

Treanor clears waivers

Catcher Matt Treanor, whom the Florida Marlins removed from their roster last week, cleared waivers Monday and is a free agent. Treanor's agent, Joel Wolfe, said the Orioles are, "among the teams at the top of his list." The sides have had initial conversations, Wolfe said.

Treanor, 32, batted .238 in 65 games with the Marlins in 2008. The Detroit Tigers also have interest in Treanor.

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